Page 1 of 1

How to respond to a parents email

Posted: Tue Jan 14, 2020 11:45 pm
by Schulzl
I'm the volunteer S&E Fair Coordinator for my kids Elementary school and I received the email below from a parent.

My son would like to do a Science Fair project on the Rubik’s Cube, testing how patterns repeat due to its mathematical symmetry. However, going through the registration there is no obvious category for this kind of project, so I have a few questions:
- I assume the categories are standard and you have no ability to add a “Game Theory/Mathematics” category? (it would make sense to have one)
- Is “Physics” the closest category? (the primary principle at work would be symmetry, which is also a physical concept)
- Is there a risk that the judging of his project will be penalized because it doesn’t fit neatly into a category?
Your comments are greatly appreciated.

We follow the Scientific and Engineering process for our S&E Fair and the first place winners attend the Mountain Area S&E Fair so there won't be any new categories added before this year's fair (the registration deadline is tomorrow). Is there a way to make the above project follow the Scientific or Engineering process? Can he child predict how patterns repeat, etc? Any ideas or suggestions will be helpful.

Thank you,

Re: How to respond to a parents email

Posted: Wed Jan 15, 2020 9:44 am
by AmyCowen
Hi Lisa - Do you know if the student is using a project from Science Buddies? There are three Rubik's Cube projects on the Science Buddies site, although two of those are more advanced. There is one at the intermediate level: ... be#summary

The project is listed in the Pure Mathematics category at Science Buddies. (Is there not a math category the student could choose?)

Looking at that project might be helpful in thinking about how the student's experiment is set up and categorized. This project is designed to have students run a scientific test and compare different approaches to solving the cube.

View all Rubik's Cube projects ... be&spell=1

Did you consult the regional fair website for any additional guidance that may be available for selecting the category?

Science Buddies

Re: How to respond to a parents email

Posted: Wed Jan 15, 2020 4:13 pm
by AmyCowen
Hi Lisa - Following up with a bit more information, in case you or the parent sees this today before registering the project. If math is not available for the science fair as a category, according to our Director of STEM Education, then a Rubik's cube project most closely aligns to Computer Science. The solving of a Rubik's cube is algorithmic thinking, and all the work the student does to figure out the patterns of the Rubik's cube would be needed if s/he was going to create a computer program to do the same thing.

I hope this helps.

Science Buddies